Vlogging and learning

Hawaiin educator Amy Burvall is well known for her series of videos in the History Teachers series. They are well worth a view, even if you are not that much into history.

Her recent keynote speech in Texas was entitled 'Leveraging for legacy and cultivating new literacies' and was replete with great, and some might claim, radical ideas. One slide in particular resonated with me, and that was her notes on vlogging. Vlogging - or video blogging - has been a growing trend, especially among the twenty-something age group, and is defining itself as a new genre of self expression in the digital ecology. Even my eldest daughter, also called Amy (Amy Hacks Life - not the name on her birth certificate) has created her own YouTube channel and is regularly vlogging on a range of topics including how to hack life. Amy Burvall outlines 7 great reasons why vlogging is a useful method of reflective learning for students. Here ther are with my own annotations included:

1 - It is personal and facilitates the student voice. It supports personalised learning through self expression, and through the act of thinking out loud and performing one's learning for a public audience.

2 - It is a natural part of the confessional culture. The current generation self discloses a great deal more than those in previous generations, and can be brutally honest in telling of their personal stories. This is clearly becoming a key part of the new digital cultural capital and feeds their perceived need to connect through reciprocal disclosure of personal details.

3 - Vlogging is easy, cheap and fun. All you need to begin vlogging is a video camera, such as the one included in all smart phones, and an topic to talk about. Many vlogs are unedited, recorded in real time, and posted direct to YouTube.

4 - It is less stressful for some. I recall several of my own students recently choosing a video as their preferred format of assessment, because I offered it as a legitimate mode of assignment. They said they felt more comfortable expressing their learning in video format, but of course, as a teacher, one should always ensure that students are assessed in as many different modes as are available. And remember, vlogs can include text in the form of subtitles or overlaid commentary.

5 - Practice new literacies. For those less familiar with vlogging, creating your first can be quite a challenge. A number of new literacies need to be learnt, including video camera use, editing (possibly), audio production, presentation skills, reflective communication and posting content to the web. This is not an exhaustive list, but reflects the extent to which new ways of working need to be learnt to vlog successfully.

6 - Vlogs are hard to plagiarise. It may be easy to copy the ideas found within some vlogs, but the personal signature of a vlog is virtually impossible to duplicate. Many well known vlogs attract parodies, but these in themselves could be seen as original works, with creative merit of their own.

7 - Dynamic - vlogs can be augmented. In this statement I believe Amy means that vlogs can be just the start of self expression through video, and can be supplemented with music, animation, editing, remixing and a host of other additions which can enhance or even transform the messages found within them.

I can add number 8 to the list, by suggesting that vlogging can be very expressive and can unleash the creativity of the person creating it as well as capturing the imagination of those watching it.

Photo by Petar Milošević on Wikimedia Commons

Creative Commons License

Vlogging and learning by Steve Wheeler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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